A bill that would require people seeking public office to disclose any felony or misdemeanor convictions on their candidacy forms has cleared the Oklahoma Senate.
The full chamber approved Senate Bill 287 on a 43-0 vote earlier this week, sending the measure to the House for consideration.
Under SB 287, candidates who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony would have to disclose the conviction on their declaration of candidacy form. Candidates would also have to name the offense, list the date of conviction and include the date when their eligibility to run for public office was restored if they were temporarily barred from seeking office.
Candidates would also have to disclose whether they are named in an outstanding arrest warrent in any state.
The bill is designed to ensure that voters know whether candidates have a criminal record, said the measure’s sponsor, Sen. Susan Paddack.
“Those who seek and serve in elected office are held to a higher standard, as they should be,” the Ada Democrat said in a news release. “They have a position of power in our communities and our state, and they have the responsibility of making and examining the rules and laws all of us must follow. Because of this position of power and trust, I believe it is in the public’s interest to know from the start whether a candidate is a law-abiding citizen or whether they have a criminal record.”
Paddack said the state currently requires more information from people seeking gubernatorial appointments than from candidates for public office. She noted that people filling out candidacy forms are not asked to provide much information beyond their name, age, address and the office they are seeking.